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Us 20, America 15, Lisa 12, Stan 8, Snyder 6, Vera 6, California 5, Maryland 4, New York 4, Francis 3, Obama 3, Delauro 3, Washington 3, Kentucky 3, Michigan 3, Maloney 3, Rob Andrews 2, Levin 2, Lisa Floyd 2, United States 2,
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  CSPAN    Key Capitol Hill Hearings    Series/Special. Speeches from policy makers  
   and coverage from around the country. (Stereo)  

    December 5, 2013
    9:00 - 11:01pm EST  

>> -- sandy levin. >> this congress has a mandate to extend federal unemployment insurance hearing we will, in a few minutes, see the human side from the three americans who are joining us today oh -- to tell their personal stories. i think they will be, in a sense, very personal. they they represent more than one million other americans with similar stories who will lose every dime, every dime of this support instantly on december 28 if this congress fails to act area a further 3.6 million americans would lose access to federal unemployment insurance next year as they exhaust their state coverage.
we strongly believe that if every member of congress would take even a few minutes to speak personally with unemployed workers, there would not be any question at all about the need to extend the federal ui program. more than anything else, they want a job. but finding work remains very difficult in an economy that still has one point 5 million fewer jobs than before the recession started six years ago. we have never had anything close to such a sustained job deficit after any recent downturn. it has been said in opposition to an extension that the federal emergency unemployment compensation program was adopted for extraordinary circumstances that are disappearing. no.
no. these extraordinary circumstances continue, as indicated in the report issued just this morning by president obama's council of economic advisers. it highlights that the current long-term unemployment rate is at least twice as high as it was at the expiration of every previous extended ui benefit program. the extraordinary circumstances continue. the report also sets out the economic impact of a failure to act. it agrees with cbo and other economists. allowing the federal ui program to expire will cost our economy at least 200,000 jobs next year
because of reduced consumer demand. for this congress to ignore the national economic impact would be shortsighted. to ignore the human, the individual human impact would be coldhearted. that is not the better nation -- the better nature of our nation. i trust of this congress. thank you. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. i certainly wish this hearing were not necessary, that we were not waste with what representative levin presented to us, but i am grateful to the cochairs of the steering and policy committee for bringing us together to hear from our very special guest.
i will yield to chairman rob andrews in just a moment but first i want to acknowledge we have been joined by congresswoman barbara lee of california, congressman david sizzling of rhode island, congressman hank johnson of georgia, and congresswoman jackowski of illinois, our distinguished democratic whip of the house, steny hoyer, our ranking member on the small business committee. our cochairs will formally introduce our witnesses, but i would like to thank all of them for honoring us with their presence. we look forward to hearing your testimony. >> thank you. a member of the house republican leadership said "there is no appetite for extending
unemployment benefits in the republican conference. today, we are not your to hear about appetite, but about hunger and about the hunger people across this country come a 1.3 million of them have for the dignity and the literal hunger these families will suffer on the 28th of december if benefits are not extended, and the hunger we should have as an economy for putting people back to work. the statements we will hear this morning will be more than ellen did. we look forward to getting back to work to extending unemployment benefits. >> thank you, madam leader. i want to welcome our guests here as well. it has been five years since the financial crisis precipitated a great recession. it destroyed millions of
americans jobs and household wealth. we have many families struggling to get back on their feet. unemployment at 7.2%. one out of every six americans among us live in poverty and one in six is battling hunger. congress needs to be doing everything we can to create jobs, grow the economy and help those who are struggling. it is a moral responsibility we have and over the past few years, we've seen a majority do nothing to address this issue. the fact of the matter is if we do not extend ui before the end of the year, 1.3 million will men and women will lose their benefits right away. another 1.9 will lose their benefits by july 1, 2014. this is bad news for families who are already struggling. failing to extend the benefits ripples throughout the economy and will cause about 310,000 jobs next year. the speaker held a hearing five years ago on the financial crisis.
it was about discussing how we stimulate the economy. one of the witnesses was mark zandi, economist and advisor to the john mccain campaign grade we asked him what was the fastest way to increase the demand and get our economy moving again. he talked about three things. expand access, provide refundable tax cut its, and extend unemployment benefits. at was the way to get us back on track. today, we will hear from a panel who will explain unemployment insurance and families and the american economy and why it's imperative for this congress to move and act before the year ends. thank you, madam leader. >> we are going to go to introduction of the witnesses.
i'm going to start with ms. was come into has been executive director of the law project since january 2, 2008. she has worked at the afl-cio, she is focused on minimum wage, living wage, pay equity for women. many issues we are pursuing around this country through our membership. we want to introduce each of the witnesses first or do we want to have them testify one at a time? >> we would ask you to make your statement brief so we can get to all the witnesses. >> we really appreciate the committee holding this important hearing today on what is an urgent matter for millions of americans. who will lose their unemployment benefits over the holidays. more than 3 million by the first of july if congress fails to act to remove the emergency unemployment program. a written statement is in the record and i will keep my statements brief. i want to emphasize that although the economy has improved, it is far from a healthy economy that provides
job opportunities for all who need and want to work, particularly the long-term unemployed. unemployment remains higher than it was before the recession and it has kicked down a little bit since the last time the program was renewed but in reality, that's because of labor force dropouts as opposed to a real decline in unemployment. if we included all the missing workers in our unemployment count, unemployment today would be 11%. this is not the kind of economy in which people struggling with long-term unemployment can find jobs. there are still officially three unemployed workers for every single job opening which means each month to out of three unemployed workers is completely out of luck when it comes to finding a job. second, i want to talk about the
demographics of the long-term unemployed because this is important. the demographics are part in it are part of who lost jobs first and who suffered the most. while unemployment has cut across every demographic rubin our economy, workers most effective -- most effected by long-term unemployment have an older workers, workers of color, and workers with less education. that's not particularly surprising because these are the workers who even in a robust economy have the most difficulty getting jobs in the first place for a variety of reasons, including discrimination. the very fact of long-term unemployment is affecting these workers ability to get new jobs. i know many of you are cosponsors on legislation that would prohibit discrimination against the long-term unemployed, which is a measure we would encourage you to take up as soon as we can. but the focus is on extending benefits. finally, i want to stress again the importance of renewing the program, not just because of the
workers who will be affected, but for the economy overall, for the labor market overall and for our society overall. we know unemployment insurance is one of the most effective economic stimuli that we have. cbo scored this just the other day and said if the program is renewed, it could account for as much as .3% in gdp growth and an additional 300,000 jobs. if it is not renewed, it will have the opposite effect. that is very damaging to our economy. estimates are every dollar invested in unemployment pays back to dollars in added growth of gdp. second, we know unemployment insurance is an effective anti- poverty tool and we care about that in this country. the census bureau reported in 2012 unemployment insurance alone cap 1.7 million americans out of poverty including close to half a million children.
it is scandalous that in the richest nation in the world one in six americans is living in poverty and at least this congress doesn't exacerbate the problem by cutting off the vital income millions of americans rely upon. finally, i want to put to rest the canard that long-term unemployment insurance keeps people unemployed. number one, that reflects that people who say that do not understand how on employment is officially counted. one is only counted as unemployed if one is looking for work. the long-term program requires people to look for work, so in fact, it has the opposite effect. it keeps people in the labor market and causes them to be
more aggressive in their job search and gives them the resources they need to stay afloat while they are looking for jobs. if we want to reduce unemployment, sure, cut out this program, but we will reduce unemployment by having more people completely drop out of the labor force and that is not the recipe for a prosperous economy that works for all of us. thank you very much. >> thank you. one of our guiding principles is when women succeed, america succeeds. one of those success stories is lisa floyd, a sales and service professional from huntington, west virginia. she spent the last 14 years working for volunteer services at a hospice. very hard work indeed, making sure the sick and elderly were able to die in peace and dignity. she is a success story.
she exhausted her state benefits without finding a job, but the extended benefits we supported and believe should be supported again helped her keep her head above water long enough to find a new job without losing her home or becoming destitute. lisa, you are not invisible. you are important and we are glad you are here. >> good morning, representatives. thank you for having me here to share my story. my name is lisa floyd. for nearly 14 years, i've worked as director of volunteer services for an area nonprofit hospice that serves both west virginia and ohio. i have worked my entire adult life having had three jobs my whole career.
i had never been unemployed until now. as soon as i lost my job, i immediately began my furious search for employment and began navigating the world of online boards, job boards and diligently networking. my goal was to place my resume in the hands of everyone i knew. i have spent the majority of my waking hours looking for work. during this time, i was able to support myself because i received vital unemployment insurance benefits. i not only was looking for jobs in my field, or only for jobs at the same salary level. i am smart enough to know most likely i would be changing careers and taking a pay cut. i applied for everything and anything. eventually, i began applying for
entry-level call-center jobs. jobs that would have resulted in a $30,000 a year pay cut. to put this another way, a 42% reduction in my pay. that was monday of this week. in the box, on the floor by my desk, i have a stack of job application receipts, job descriptions, research come a and various forms of my resume and cover letters. the stack is two feet tall. and i know because i measured it. in addition, my online network connections have literally gone viral. my regular state unemployment benefits ended in early november
and i immediately began receiving federal emergency unemployment compensation. i would not have been able to pay my mortgage and i would have been at risk of losing my beloved little house. i was raised by my mother, a single parent. we never owned a home, but we lived in apartments. so i am especially proud of my home and i know my deceased mother would have been proud to know she raised me right. i am somebody. i own a home. now, in eight months of my job search, i am happy to say i have secured a job just three days ago. [applause] again, that was monday.
although my new job pays much, much less than what i was making, it's a job with a livable wage, and for that, i am very grateful. without unemployment insurance and the federal emergency benefits, i would not have been able to sustain myself in my job search. so, for me, these programs have done what they are supposed to do. they kept me in my home. i can still buy groceries and pay my bills. my anxiety was kept to a
manageable level. i was able to keep sending out applications and going on interviews. if it had not been fortunate in finding this job, i would have faced the year and a cutoff of federal emergency unemployment compensation benefits absent congressional action. for millions and that would be devastating. for me, it could have meant the loss of my beloved home. i am so relieved and grateful that i will not have to face that now. but i know millions of others are at the same risk i was just two days ago. again, monday, i am here on their behalf. pleading with congress to renew the federal or emergency compensation program for 2014
and please, give the other 1.3 million americans a fighting chance to become reemployed. i am an emergency unemployment compensation success story. won't you please allow this to be america's story? thank you. >> lisa, your mother is proud and you are somebody. and you reverse that view of people who are unemployed. we are all defined by the jobs
we do. we take pride in what we do. that is why we are with you today to tell you we are going to do everything in our power to make sure these benefits get extended. thank you for your courage and thank you for your courage in being here. vera is a longtime biotech professional. she's going to talk about how failure to extend unemployment insurance benefits would impact her directly. she has been searching for work for the last seven months.
thank you for being here and sharing your story this morning. >> thank you for inviting me. thank you for the opportunity to speak on behalf of millions of unemployed americans across the country who like me face the shutdown. if this congress fails to renew these back, my name is vera and i live in massachusetts. i have earned a bachelors degree in microbiology and a masters degree in immunology and i have worked for over 20 years in the biotech pharmaceutical industry in various positions. under various functions both in academia and the industry. most recently, i invested four years in a company that is developing a vital diagnostic tool for cancer. i was laid off in may 2013 due to a lack of funding that was complicated by the sequester earlier in the year. i am deeply engaged in job
searching, spending at least eight hours a day in front of the computer networking, searching job boards, being involved in professional groups, i have posted over 50 resumes on job searches to come to knees. i am applying to jobs at all levels. including entry-level. i am actively engaged in networking groups that consist of professionals throughout the massachusetts area. i have attended the job-search workshops and pursued job postings. as the seventh month on my job search begins, i continue looking for employment in the pharmaceutical industry and i also applied for seasonal jobs
and applied for part time jobs within service and retail industry. my husband is a self-employed business consultant in i.t. because his business is failing due to the economic sequester. we have very little income coming in. in fact, it is just my state unemployment. that will end at the end of this week. i am going to be one of the one point 3 million americans on the eu see in 2013. to face the fact that those benefits and at the end of this year is truly creating stress in me. i have sleepless nights, i wake up with fears and tears. and i just don't know what i'm going to do. we also need health assistance, food assistance, heating assistance, just like my friend lisa did. the fear is keeping me from moving forward and pursuing these activities and pursuing my job search.
today, i think i am getting a new spark. the lack of funding coming up will exasperate m current condition because i'm making the choice of having teed less quality food that contain ingredients i cannot eat. therefore my health will suffer even more than what it does. i don't even know what i'm going to do for medication. i'm asking congress to renew the benefits for 2013. it's the least this congress can do. it must do this for america. please invest in america. that is where you will get results for the economy to grow. thank you very much. [applause]
>> every member of congress should hear and heed what lisa and vera have said. we are here to try to amplify your strong and wise voices. we thank you. stan is an electrician, a journeyman wireman. on july 3 of this year, a project on which he had work for an extended -- an extended. finished. since then, he's been looking for work. he gets up at 4:00 every day even though he's not working. what he spends most of his time doing is trying to find work, especially with construction season in the cold weather coming up, his state benefits in maryland will expire in early
january. when they expire, if we do not extend the federal benefits, he will be without income looking for his next job great we hope next time you get up that 4:00 a.m. it's because you are working. but we want to hear what you have to say today. >> thank you for letting me speak today. i'm from baltimore, maryland. i'm a journeyman electrician and i have been since 1975. at the electrical work since i was a teenager. i am 67 years young and i am capable, and fully able to work. i need to work, i love to work, it is who i am. but i hate being unemployed. it is a waste of my time, my abilities, and during the recent recession and the early part of recovery, i was fortunate to have continuous work for three years on a job. work in my industry can be sporadic. i put away money and i have saved. but my five month job ended earlier this year on july 3. the unemployment insurance, which is my only income, and i have used my savings that i have
put way. i'm in the 20th week of my regular state unemployment benefits that will and in january. unemployment benefits have helped me scrape bye week to week and even with them, i'm not able to pay my expenses. i'm trying to find a job but it's a very difficult thing. construction work is a hard find in the winter and outside of my industry, from what i have seen, potential employers see my agent look right past me. i still get up that for or 4:30 every morning, saturdays and sundays. i'm pursuing work through my union and elsewhere. things should pick up this ring and i'm looking for things to pick up because i hate not working. so here i am facing the end of my unemployment benefits in
january. if this congress does not act to reduce the federal compensation program, there will be no federal benefits available for me and people like me. if that happened that i'm still unemployed, i won't even be able to play debate -- to pay the basics. if congress lets the program shut down, i will not be able to pick yes in my car to even look for a job. tell me how that's going to help me and help others like me get back to work. don't allow them to shut this down. thank you. [applause] >> the 1.3 million people demonstrated by the three witnesses that have just spoken are not just a statistic. they live, they breathe, they have families and it is our obligation in congress to make
sure they have the opportunities to live their lives. father snyder, it's wonderful to have you here today. you have been the president of catholic charity and you oversee local catholic charity agencies nationwide and help 10 million americans a year struggling in poverty regardless of their religious, social or economic grounds. he's the author of "think and act anew. help robert d in america affect the solid what we can do about it. we are counting on you to make sure we all keep our moral responsibility front and center in our policy discussions. you can help to make your perspective critical -- not just for those here this morning but for all members of congress to
hear. thank you for being with us. >> thank you. leader pelosi, representative andrews and other members of the house here today, let me say good morning and a sincere thank you for holding this important hearing that will focus on the issue of extending the emergency unemployment compensation benefits. i'm grateful to have the opportunity to make a few remarks. also to bring the perspective of nonprofits to provide help to americans in need each and every day. as representative delauro said, catholic charities serves about 10 million people every year, about one in four persons living in poverty. that is why this is such an important issue for us.
we do not want to see those numbers increase. in less than 20 days, millions across the country will gather to celebrate christmas and the holidays, yet only days after marking the holiday with family and loved ones, more than a million americans may lose this vital -- this vital benefit if it is not renewed and their ability to provide for their families may be in jeopardy. unemployment insurance benefits are a vital life link for unemployed workers and their families. it can make the difference between continuing to have housing and having enough to eat. this will affect children and some veterans. it serves as a bridge when a temporary job losses experienced.
without it, individuals can easily slip into poverty. extending this nss is a wiser investment of dollars until our economy is robust enough to create sufficient employment opportunities for those who spend so much time looking for work. they are our neighbors, our extended family members. let there be no mistake that people who receive this benefit are people who have worked every day and want to work. they want and need the dignity of work to allow them to provide for themselves and their families. unemployment is not the life these individuals seek, nor is it the one they want. they want to continue moving toward the american dream and it is incumbent upon all of us to do everything we can to ensure a robust economy and good paying jobs are the long-term solutions. at catholic charities, we see firsthand what choices unemployed americans face as they look for work, leaving them and their families vulnerable as they continue job search. the impact of unemployment extends beyond individuals and families to communities and neighborhoods as well.
high unemployment and poverty go hand-in-hand. the characteristics of poor neighborhoods amplify the impact of on employment. this benefit is an investment to keep our communities healthy. when the workforce and economy take a hit as we have seen these last several years, social service agencies are often the first to feel impact. for example, within days of this fall's government shutdown, catholic charities were reporting the increased need in their community as a result of changed employment situation of federal workers. while catholic charities remains committed to helping families get back on their feet as they search for work, we can only be part of the solution.
it is understandable this benefit should not be extended permanently, but as a nation, we should not pull the rug out from under the americans who continue to look for work in this economy that is ever so slow to recover. we can understand having limits but we have to take into account the reality of the current set act in their economy. our catholic tradition teaches us that society, acting through the government, has a special obligation to consider first the needs of the poor and vulnerable. pope francis has called on us numerous times in to recognize the needs of our neighbors to make responding to those folks a priority. he said in his recent exultation this. it is vital that government leaders and financial leaders take heed and broaden their horizons, working to ensure all citizens have dignified work, education, and health care. i am firmly convinced openness to the transcendent can bring about a new political and economic mindset which would help to write down the wall of separation between the economy and the common good of society. i urge congress to do the same. the challenge here today is for
congress to work together and support a bipartisan effort to ensure our neighbors do not go without by extending this benefit in this time of great need for so many. thank you. [applause] >> madam leader? >> i want to thank our leaders again as a tribute to all of you. i'm so pleased so many numbers have come and some had to go back to their committee work. since i knowledge to is here earlier, we have been joined by our congressman from rico, keith ellison of minnesota, lida lowey of new york. jackie speer from california, terri sewell from alabama. carolyn maloney of new york. is glenn still with us? chris van hollen of maryland. the list goes on and on. while we are talking about a major statistic, 1.3 million people by the end of the month,
every single one of those stories, there are a million stories that are important to us. you are the personification of that. you're the personification of the great work ethic of america. that is what we want to see upheld with this. >> i just want to thank you for being here. we talk in washington about big numbers. millions of people. too infrequently, we talk about individuals. our actions affect them immediately and directly on a daily basis. thank you for being here. it takes courage to come here
and express -- as rosa has said or perhaps rob andrews, when we see one another, the first thing we say is what we need -- we say what is your name. what is the next question we ask question mark what do you do? what do you do to occupy your time from 4:00 a.m. that makes you feel worthwhile? not only is it extraordinary economic damage we are inflicting, but psychological. you talked about that as well and stan obviously evidenced that.
we appreciate the fact that you are here to ring home the personal individual impact our lack of action has. to bring home the personal individual impact that our lack of action has. we are scheduled to leave here on the 13th of december, friday the 13th of december. i'm hopeful that we will not vote to adjourn the congress of the united states for the year 2013 without taking care of this issue, to ensure that the lisas and veras and stans of our country, our neighbors, our friends, our daughters, our sons, our fathers and mothers know that we care and that there is that floor that help, that hand that reaches out. father, that's what jesus told us to do, of course, is to reach
out and lift up. and help, and hopefully we'll do that. your testimony i think will make a difference in us doing that. thank you very much. >> thank mr. hoyer and our colleagues for being here. what we are going to do now is turn this to questions. in order to accommodate all the members here with their questions and answers, what we are going to do is try to take three questions at a time and members will be called on in order of appearance. i'm going to ask my colleagues to make the question very short and poignant, and we'll get the answers we want. we anticipate there will be votes. we want to get all the questions in. i will ask the questicongresswo
lee -- did congresswoman lee leave? mr. hoyer left? >> good morning, everyone. i've been in congress almost 20 years and participated in many congressional hearings. this is the toughest one and i'm a tough lady. i just want to take this opportunity to thank every one of you, stan, vera, lisa, for your grace and your dignity. and i hope, father i pray, that those americans that are being ignored by the other side that are paying close attention to what is happening here in congress. vera, lisa, i would like to ask you a question. the last seven months have clearly been very tough on you.
you persevere and now you are on a brighter path. where would you be today if it wasn't for the unemployment compensation emergency? >> if i had not had the extra time, because unless you have experienced how the job market is today and the incredible amount of research, and you may spend three hours preparing for an interview. you have no idea what it is like to go through the world of the internet job boards. i was facing a decision of
taking, actually i enrolled. i have a bachelor's degree and i had enrolled in my local community college with all the young millenials to go back to school to get an associate's degree, to go to night school and work during the day on a minimum wage job or a little bit more and then i would, my plan was to have to dig into my retirement and have 30% of that taxed and then taxed again and just pray that my tenacity would get me there. the anxiety level, i can't even explain to you the insomnia, the tears, the mood swings, the ups, the downs. it ranks with me as one of the five most tragic things to have ever happened in my life.
what it does to you emotionally and psychologically, you feel like hester prenn with the letter "a" when you're jobless very long. you soon become a member of the lost world. people look at you when you don't have a job yet like there's something wrong with you. that's where i would have been. >> thank you. >> i have no questions, but i would like to let you all know that for a period of about three months, i was unemployed -- this was back many years ago. it was really during, between school -- it was summer break.
i'm used to working and i could not find a job that summer, the whole summer. i can't tell you how -- i can tell you but i'm sure your feelings about being unemployed and searching for work and being unable to find anything, the effect that has on you mentally is just very -- you wouldn't know it unless you went through it. i think that's the problem with a lot of our colleagues here in congress is that, you know, many were born with a silver spoon. so they never had to encounter times where it was hard to make ends meet. but you have a lot of representatives here who feel your pain and we are going to do everything under the leadership
of our caucus leaders to remedy this situation for you. last but not least, our dear pope, father, has brought it all home at such a wonderful time of the year where we are sharing, we are thankful for all that we have been given and we are trying to give back and share a little bit of that good tidings with our neighbors and our friends. that's the spirit that we should have. i just want to applaud the pope for taking that direction and thank you all for being brave enough to come here today. thank you. >> congressman? >> thank you all. i'm here because i represent puerto rico in congress. puerto rico is an american territory and its unemployment
rate at present is 14.7%. it has the highest unemployment rate pretty much in america. at the same time 80,200 puerto ricans, american citizens, will not continue getting unemployment benefits if this legislation is not, and this program is not extended. your accounts have moved me quite a bit. i know anybody with any kind of sensitivity would be moved by your accounts. i am sure that most, if not all those 80,000 constituents i represent would have similar accounts. now, i'm going to address my question to father snyder. some colleagues of ours here in congress believe our government has no responsibility, the federal government has no responsibility, no business in dealing with poverty, hunger,
homelessness and unemployment in america. they believe that just charities should take care of it all. what's your response to them? >> i think charity has a role to play, without a doubt. charity cannot do it alone. our tradition in this country has been that charity partners with the government and we work together. because we both have that as a common goal. especially the most vulnerable. as far as saying government has no role it in, i'm not sure what their faith tradition might be, but i think those of us who certainly are christian, are jewish, and even in the muslim tradition, there is that very clear responsibility to your neighbor, especially your neighbor in need. i would encourage them to go back and look at the roots of their faith tradition because i
think the very things we are talking about here today you will find an answer there. >> thank you. >> thank you. we are going to hear first from congressman joyce beatty of ohiohi ohio. >> thank you so much. let me just join all my colleagues in thanking you for coming and giving your testimony. let me just say that that's courageous to me. this is very difficult as i sit here and i think of how you represent the many faces in my district of people who are writing me and people who are calling me with very similar stories. certainly, we are here because we are concerned. we are your advocates so i wanted to be able to personally
say that. lisa, your story like the others was very compelling. you mentioned ohio and that touched me being in the heart in the capital city of ohio. i'll be brief. the question is almost a follow-up to my colleague's question, but not as it relates to the church or faith-based. so often people in my district will say go to the church and they'll take care of it and that doesn't happen. when you need a loan in my district, the churches can't sustain new a home or with medical or groceries. if there was one thing you could say to us, i'm a so-what person and a resolve person. we're here and we heard you. what's the one extra thing you would like me to do, whether it's in my district or legislatively or here in a committee, what's the one thing?
>> for me, and i've been asking myself what congress is doing and what they are doing for me as an individual and a community. i know you're not my representative. you do represent me in other ways. i think it's to find a way to resolve these issues that are facing our nation. help the people that are under yo your -- my husband and i were talking on the way to the airport that this is the congress that has done the least amount for the american people as a nation of all of them that have been thus far. that's one of the reasons why i rarely listen to the news any more is because of how depressing it gets that there is
just no talking with you. even i have to talk with my family or my friends to negotiate and with my husband to negotiate issues and negotiate what we are going to pay or what we are going to eat. sometimes we make concessions. sometimes one makes the concession, sometimes the other, but usually we both makes a concession on what we are going to do in this situation. to me, i don't understand why our congress is not -- we're all here to earn a living, to be responsible to our communities and to our nation. and how can -- i'm asking myself that as lisa and stan have what can i contribute back to my community as a stem professional, what can i do? as a home gardener, what can i
do? as a daughter of a veteran, what can i do for the veterans of our community? and soon i may be homeless. every time i see a homeless person, i'm actually giving them whatever little change i have in my purse, in my hand or my pocket. i'm starting to make an effort to hold, keep coins in my pocket so that i can give something to someone. because whatever we can give to the least of us we do for ourselves. i don't know if that's really what you're asking. >> that is very helpful. thank you. >> if somehow this congress and future congress persons come together and work for us as people as a nation. >> thank you very much. >> thank you. first i want to thank you, mr.
co-chair and co-chair delauro for holding this very important hearing. this is why i came to congress was to hear and listen and represent constituents and people in america like you who expect this congress to address the important issues of our time. nothing can be more important than employment and job creation and growing our economy. so you have put a perspective that i have been waiting to hear now for 11 months as a new member. you've provided me some hope that i came to congress to do the right thing and to fight for people who need us to be champions on your behalf. i'm from nevada. my state has the highest unemployment in the country at 9.3%. in a state with fewer than 3 million people, we have some
20,000 individuals who will lose their emergency unemployment benefits on december 28th if we don't do something about that. if the republican leadership continues to sit idly by, by next june that number will double to 40,000. so it is real. i want to thank each of you because as my colleagues have said already, we're listening and we hear you and we know that you represent so many other people. to lisa, vera, stan, the other witnesses, thank you. stan, i want to ask you a specific question because one sector that has been hardest hit in my state is the construction sector. i have building trade workers in unions and a lot of other trades who have been unemployed now for more than a year. there really are no jobs in that sector coming back any time soon
in my community because of the sustained recession. the construction industry was our number two sector behind gaming so it's been hardest hit. it's good to hear a union perspective. i want to ask you as a building trades worker, what about the quality of the job that you're looking for? you come from a sector with good, livable wages with good benefits with pension and apprenticeship to come back and retrain. what happens to you if the jobs that they're trying to put you in don't really provide for family-sustaining wages for you and your family? >> as you sit down and work, you start questioning your ability to do a job.
your worth drops, your self-confidence drops. it takes quite a bit to build it back up. it's hard to be unemployed. i am a craftsman. i build. i enjoy building. i like to look back on what i built and say, "i did that." that's my pride. when you don't have a job, you feel worthless. it's a feeling i don't like. i've been in the trade 43 years. i worked everything from bridges to steel mills, to car plants,
and i've always give them the top notch job i could. the quality is what my pride is and that's what i'm trying to give. to do anything else is unfulfilling. it doesn't give you a feeling of worth. doesn't make you feel good. it's hard to do something else, not after all these years of training, continuous training we go under. i don't know. >> beautiful answer, stan. congresswoman grace napolitano. >> i join my colleagues in thanking you for being here and being so honest with us. i just wish my colleagues on the other side were sitting here listening to you. they're not.
one of the areas that covers mental health. i'm sure all of you understand that this is something you are not getting assistance to deal with the pressures of the feelings of worthlessness, the feelings of despair and the questioning of yourself and your abilities to get back in the job market. somehow we are missing the point of being able to help you to sustain that mental attitude to be successful in your ability to achieve re-employment. so that's an area -- pardon me, i get excited. that we are not focusing on in congress either. the ability to understand the position it places you in as an additional side effect of not acting and extending unemployment benefits. it is something that just affects the family. you might lose your homes. now we have another home on the market. it might or might not move. it adds to the recession.
so we must begin to also understand that we need to help you be able to sustain your mental capability to move forward and be successful, and being able to tell you you're worth it. every one of you. you've done your work, you created this economy in the united states, and we owe it to you. the other area is of course the unemployed vets. you know a lot of them coming home to nothing. the suicide rate is 22 which is unacceptable to our veterans. there are many things we need to work on. the problem has been the budget is not big enough. the economy is not growing fast enough. why are we not focusing on bringing the jobs back here to the u.s.? why are we not looking at being able to hold employers accountable for things -- they're making money. i can start off with a few i can think offhand. you understand. you feed to be aware and you need to tell other people to be aware of how this works here in
congress. because if you don't support what we are trying to do and increase the budget, understand the benefits and bring companies back here to do the job creation and take care of you when you need it, to be able to help you back on your feet, then we are not doing your job. it's only half the job because we don't have the power to do it as it stands now. any comments? >> i just want to say one thing, representative. what i was feeling on monday morning was pure unadulterated fear. fear. i gave my christmas tree to a friend. wasn't going to put it up. no christmas. i had no idea what i was facing. your emotions go up and down, up and down because you go on a face-to-face interview. you think it went great.
because the competition in our area is very high because of unemployment. people don't understand -- what i want you to understand is get rid of that wrong impression that people who are on long-term unemployment are coasting along, singing a song and they're all laying in front of the tv watching "jerry springer" and eating junk food. that is not what we're doing. we are out there every day. i want to say something. you have to step aside for a moment every now and then because you're going to drive yourself insane, but pounding it hard. the majority of americans want to work. we are the exception. not we are the exception. we are the rule. we want to work. understand that. please. >> we get it. the problem is my colleagues on the other side don't get it
because they may never have been unemployed. california has the highest -- well, we are over 35 million now. our affected unemployed will be close to a million in california if we don't extend this. you understand it is critical for all of us and we all support what you have told us we need to do. we all support that. one of the things -- and you're very right about the people who don't want to work. those make it hard for the rest, but we are not going after those who are fraudulently accessing the fund. that's something we also need to look at is get people off their duffs and not create a dynasty of people that are on unemployment forever or social service. god bless you, all of you. good luck in your future. thank you. >> thank you very much, congresswoman napolitano. i would like to ask for
questions -- one point we should know that the work that the law center is doing, and i want to single out chris owens to say what melt has been doing to end that discrimination against people unemployed and unemployed for a long time. you don't have to add insult to injury for people. you don't have to tell them their's dogging it when they are trying to make their way. with that, i recognize congresswoman moore, congresswoman spear and we have congresswoman maloney. we've got to move fast. we don't know when votes are coming up. let's get all the questions in. >> thank you, madam co-chair. i know lisa and vera are frightened, but i find their testimonies very, very frightening and intimidating for
the whole country. these people are master electricians, microbiologist, bachelor degree with a lot of executive experience and they are unemployed for a long time. what about those people who don't have their skillset? i'm sorry i missed so much of their testimony. i was perusing through their testimony. they say they've been looking for anything, part-time work, the extent to which they have been willing to accept jobs for half as much as they are worth begin their skill set. really looking at this in terms of any data that you have in terms of what we know has been a real intentionality on the part of some employers to force wages
downward, and to force people like them to accept $8 an hour jobs so that the walmart, the care takers of the world, they can forget it about getting anything. i'm wondering the extent to which they have experienced age discrimination and the discrimination -- are employers bold enough to tell you that, hey, we're not going to hire you because we know that if you get this microbiologist job you're going to leave or your salary requirements really are $25 an hour, stan, and we aren't about to hire you? i'm interested to hearing from christine and them, as well. >> you will be pleased to know the city of madison just adopted an ordinance prohibiting discrimination against people simply because they are unemployed, joining a couple of other cities that have done so.
congresswoman delauro is the author of that legislation in the house. it's interesting today is the day there will be strikes by fast food workers around the country. the reality is that wages have declined for workers in this country. note that a study we released earlier this year that looked at 700 some odd occupations and divided them into fifths. we found except for the highest-paid occupations there had been significant wage decline over the last three years. and the wage decline had been the greatest in the lowest-paid occupations. so there is no question, whatever the reason, whether it's intentional manipulation of wages, whether it's the law of supply and demand in a labor market in which there are way more job seekers than jobs, wages are going down for america's workers. that's why you see someone like lisa or vera or stan educated,
experienced, long tenured workers who can only find jobs that pay far less than the jobs they have lost. i think that that is something we really need to think about in terms of the future consequences of this crisis. it will be a huge crisis if the program is not renewed. there is no question that will affect millions upon millions of people, but long-term unemployment has long-term consequen consequences and builds deficits into our future. we need to take those into account as you all craft policy, we as advocates promote policies. this is not just an immediate problem. it's a long-term crisis for our country. >> i would love to hear from you all. are people saying, hey, lisa, vera, we would hire you, but we know you wouldn't stay here for
this $8 an hour, so therefore, we aren't going to hire you? >> representative moore, here is how i want to answer that. you can't prove age discrimination, but i lost my job of 14 years two weeks before i turned 50. two black happy birthday balloons were very appropriate this year. on the online job applications that you are forced to fill out, they make you put in the dates of your college degree or you can't go further. you have to put in a date. so yes, can you prove it? probably not. so here is what i was on the verge of doing. i have a friend in the billboard business. we were going to put a billboard, and i'm totally serious, and if you knew me, you know i'm serious.
>> i think i know you. >> i was going to put a billboard in huntington, west virginia and ohio, with my big face on it that said, a lot of people know me, i've been in the advertising business and hospice and say, "hire me." reputable baby boomer, hard worker, shows up to work, professional, you won't regret it. i had a friend ready to reserve my billboard space. so yes, it absolutely does, but you'll never prove it. you can't say. that's my answer to that, but yes, i do believe it's out there. >> i think there is a lot of discrimination against us older employees because we don't have the same skill sets as those that are recently graduating from the universities.
i come from a community that has very prestigious schools. i'm also feeling the fact even though my skills are not new, that i'm feeling wage discrimination because i haven't earned that, why haven't i moved up beyond supervisor, why haven't i gone into management or director? i realize that's not my role in the biotechnology community. i have taken on seasonal jobs with the u.s. postal service. i am on call with the ups. i am taking on a part-time job with renew by anderson windows because that will be the only salary that comes in if my state unemployment comes down. i had these benefits in the past and they have helped me. what i'm also experiencing -- my heart goes out to all these
people who have minimum jobs, how are they making it? i read the stories and hear the stories that they're having to go to the churches and community houses for at least one supper a day. how are they doing it? my heart goes out to them all. i'm having to consider that possibility that i might be taking a minimum wage job. i considered doing house cleaning on weekends. we experience age discrimination, we experience educational discrimination, we experience skill discrimination, even though in every position i've had, i've done everything that a quality assurance person could do. they won't look at me because it has not been my title and it has not been five to ten years or more of that specific skill, but i can do it. they just won't look at me for it. >> they won't train you.
>> they won't train me. >> i'm going to ask congresswoman spear, maloney to ask their questions quickly and get their answers so we get the questions on the table. >> thank you. in your quiet and pained voices, you have shamed this congress. we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for being here. we owe you. this congos you. i hope what our majority rep said we will take to heart, that we will not leave here next friday without renewing unemployment benefits. i feel so strongly that you have been slapped in the face by your country. we have got to make sure your benefits continue. you have put faces on numbers. we talk in numbers too much around here. your faces tell the story of people who are hard working, who have been discriminated because
of age. i've held ten job hunters boot camps in my district over the last four years. historically, the numbers are all over the age of 50 because it's easy to force terminations in that kind of setting and hire young people at lower salaries. one quick question, christine. we've got to do something legal here. to lisa's point about requiring that you establish what your dates of college degrees were acquire withed is the he ee eee easiest way to determine how old you are. what are ways to legally prevent the age discrimination that goes on in the work place today? >> certainly, it's against -- >> sorry. >> want to thank the leader and
all my colleagues for calling this important hearing and all the need to extend unemployment benefits. i believe all of us are going to be fortified and fight even harder having heard your stories and having seen a real life experience of what it means. if we don't act, 1.3 million americans will lose their unemployment benefits in january and in my home state of new york, that includes over 127,000 human faces and families that will lose it. what is very disturbing to me is not only the high rate of 7.3% unemployment, but the very high rate of long-term unemployment munemployment. and stan, you have talked about the challenges of long-term unemployment. i guess it's going to add more numbers to the long term, and that will have a ripple effect. not only for long-term unploit
but all employed. what is the ripple effect u father snyder, on families, on communities, of these human numbers that are going to be losing their jobs, losing their participation? so again, i thank you. i join my colleagues in thanking you. >> congressman. >> thank you. i'll just -- just to add to that, i represent flint, michigan, a city that some 35 years ago had 79,000 people working in the auto industry. today that number is about 8,000. so there are a whole subset of american cities for which the transition from the old to the new economy, even in a period of economic growth, has not delivered the kind of employment that's necessary to sustain the economy. so i ask if any of you might comment on how the loss of direct support for 1.3 million americans in the wealthiest country ever imagined on the planet at a time of record
profits by corporations can somehow be acceptable when you have cities like flint, michigan, or saginaw, michigan, that continue to struggle to try to connect their work force with the next economy. to me, this just seems like an affront to all that is good and right, and it's not something we ought to stand for. finally, i just want to say thank you for helping members of congress who ought to understand that this is just not economic data that we're looking at, but this is a decision that'll literally affect the lives, health, and well being of millions of americans and the fact you're willing to come help make that case is something we're grateful for. thank you. >> thank you, chris. why don't you begin and we'll get to the other direct questions. >> thank you so very quickly, congresswoman. there is legislation pending in congress protecting older workers against discrimination, which would reverse an
outrageous supreme court decision. we would urge the members -- i'm sure you all support it. passing it would be incredibly important. strengthening enforcement resources for the age discrimination employment act. and just sort of public -- lending one's public voice to the fact that age discrimination is alive and well. as i noted earlier, among the groups that are disproportionately represented in the long-term unemployed, it is older workers who are really in quite a jam because they don't have a lot of years ahead of them, even if they could get jobs quickly to rebuild their pensions, replenish their savings, et cetera. so i think elevating the issue publicly and making the case -- i want to say that we actually hired a long-term unemployed worker a few years ago who is almost as old as i am. and he is a rock star. we could not be happier.
if we had 15 positions, i'd hire 15. as lisa says, they're great. >> i think stan, congresswoman maloney, addressed a question to you. caroline? >> yes, my question was about the ripple effect of the unemployment on the community at large, particularly long-term unemployment, which you spoke so movingly about and with these high numbers, the degree of probability is there'll be more long-term unemployed. and you spoke very movingly on it. father snyder, the impact on the greater community, not just on the individuals but the greater community in which you serve with this lack of support for the families. >> the ripple effect you get, i
don't know. personally, it takes away your self-worth. you lose it. in some cases, i've known people that have been through the long term, even longer than i have. unfortunately, they're no longer with us. they could not handle it. they lose the money, their family, they lose everything. and they just end up losing themselv themselves. like i said, that's the ripple effect. i don't know what else to say. >> thanks, dan. father snoyder? >> i think there's definitely a ripple effect. when you look at our communities, american people are very generous people. there are a lot of different ways that they really try to
reach out, but i think the scale of what we're seeing here is not something that private charity can ever make up. we see that because of that, people in this situation are forced to make very difficult decisions, choices about am i going to pay the mortgage, am i going to pay for my medicine, or am i going to not buy food. so i think most nonprofits have seen our greatest increase in demand for need is food because people give up food because they can't give up housing, they can't give up medicine or shouldn't, but they know they can get help with food somewhere else. it still isn't enough. i would just bring up one of the things that really worries me, of course, is what's going to happen with s.n.a.p. benefits, which is going to compound all of this. >> i believe your question, in fact, has been answered. we do have to give up this room at noon. i want to -- so you'll survive.
and i want to turn this over to our leader nancy pelosi. >> thank you very much for hosting this as part of the steering and policy committee. thank you, chairman levin, for your ongoing, day-to-day, extraordinary, deep commitment to all of this. we're very proud of so many members who came. we've been joined by congresswoman sheila jackson lee. thank you for your work on unemployment insurance as well. so many members came and went, time did not allow all of them to ask questions, but they wanted to pay their respects to you. i know many more, because i joined them, we had to be physically present in another room, but we were watching you on tv. thank you for the generosity of spirit you have to share your stories in such a personal way. such strength. hopefully you certainly challenged the conscience of the
congress, hopefully the nation as well, as people saw your presentations. so important. father snyder, you quoted pope francis earlier in the challenge he gave to elected officials and business leaders. it was reminding me of leo xiii. that was over 100 years ago. it was an encyclical that recognized the value of work and respect for workers. it seems to me we should reread that as well as we rejoice in pope francis' very valuable statements. thank you for catholic charity's work. this is, as you said at the end, this is on top of everything else. this is on top of the resistance to raising the minimum wage, for cutting $40 billion out of food stamps. i mean, how unconscionable can that be? pell grants, now wanting to cut pell grants which are providing education for low-income
families. title i for economically advantaged areas to have the education. the list goes on and on of the compounding of all of these things that are not really a budget that is a statement of our values. but really just -- perhaps they don't know. they either don't know or they don't care. so let's hope that now knowing they will care. thank you for improving the knowledge base that people have on this. yes indeed we are making a very clear statement that we cannot, cannot support a budget agreement that does not include unemployment insurance, in the budget or as a side bar in order to move it all along. it would be -- it would undermine who we are as a
country. most important lyimportantly, i strike at the heart of what you bring to america. everything that you have said is about the middle class, the backbone of our democracy. so thank you for your strength, because you strengthen our country, and we have to just be as bold as we need to be to make sure people all know what is at risk here when they casually toss off a policy. i don't like unemployment insurance, when it is a very personal matter. again, a manifestation you are of the work ethic of the american people, something we should value, something we should respect. and when people lose their jobs through no fault of their own and are looking for work and we say, too bad, that is very bad for our country. stan, thank you. thank you for just being so generous with your story. as they say on tv, right up close there and personal for the
american people, it was beautiful. vera, i don't even know what to say to you for all the challenges that you are facing. thank you for your courage. lisa, keep up that fight. and congratulations on your new job. christine, really, thank you for being such a strong, intellectual resource on all of these issues, to help improve public policy. father snyder, thank you to catholic charities for all that you do and for coming to this table to associate yourself with the concerns of america's working families. again, i thank my colleagues for their leadership, and again, mr. levin, thank you. he's just totally relentless. totally. [ applause ] thank you, all, to our witnesses. [ applause ] rex coming up tonight house
and the leader cantor treasury secretary jack lew. then remarks by obama at the white house holiday reception.
>> friday on c-span, washington journal looks at the role of the institute of health. fauci followedy by eric green. later a look at the national institute of health. >> i am a combat vet. i served in the navy for seven years before i was retired.
i crushed both of my hands and my to have them rebuild. life expectancy is down less than two years. my husband is my primary caregiver. i don't need anything from the v.a. anymore. my complicated claim took four i am heredjudicate. not to represent my issues. i am here to ensure everyone will understand that cases like my own are not isolated. i personally have dealt with
1000 cases of veterans and their spouses and children dealing with complex claims. weekend a hearing on dealing with processing and disability claims. on book tv, taking stock. lateormer congressman. saturday night at 12:15. as a nation grieved for a lost president, lbj -- for lbj went intont, office. this is 30 minutes.
>> i thank the gentleman from maryland for yielding. on monday the house will meet at noon for legislative debate. no votes are scheduled on monday. on tuesday, wednesday, and thursday, the house will meet at 10 a.m. and at noon for legislative business. friday the house will meet for business. the last votes are expected no later than 3 p.m. the house will consider suspensions. of those i am pleased to announce the house will consider act, the first research which has over 2000 cosponsors
and put into practice what i hope we will all agree on, which is to place a priority on .ediatric medical research there are a number of items available nexte week, including the sustainable growth rate in medicare and farmlative pertaining to programs. >> i think you for the information. hopefully the agreement will be bipartisan in nature and will be balanced and fair as well.
hopefully we can pass the farm bill as well. note with great disappointment uninsurance thension is not listed by leader. 1.3 million people are going to have unemployment benefits expire i believe on december 28. nose people will have support structure. my own view is they will then go to some other support structure ,r some welfare payment medicaid, which they may be on already, but in any event it ill not be no cost. they predict it will cost as
we dos 300,000 jobs if not extend unemployment insurance. we just have a hearing where we had read very compelling testimonies from three people with respect to one who just found a job on monday. she was very pleased not only for the economic damage going off unemployment will cost them, but also the psychological damage to them it would cause. somewhere --i read the gentle man may want to comment on this, but some commented there was no appetite for extending unemployment insurance on your side of the aisle, but can the gentle man give me any idea of what also -- of the possibilities of having unemployment on the floor so we
can not see those people dropped > the rolls on december 28. the read mind the gentleman benefits were past five years spending at acy time in which we were facing near bottom in terms of our economy, the fallout of the and thosecollapse, benefits were thought about in those contexts. if he were to look at the jobs legislation this house has of which are awaiting action in the senate, we have the working family flexibility act, the rains act, the offshore energy and jobs
act, the energy security act, the veteran emergency medical technician act. all of these are measures the house passed. the gentle man will agree the best way to address chronically unemployed is to the them get back to work. skills act was designed specifically to do that, to help the chronically unemployed to act with necessary skill they need to enter the job market of today. out thisurther point week the congressional budget office issued a report in a request where the extension of unemployment benefits in which it says some unemployed workers who would be eligible for those benefits would reduce the intensity of
their job search and remain unemployed longer, which would equal trees -- which would and employment. i would say such policies if we were to continue would lead to greater deficit, which would eventually reduce a nations out the door income slightly below what would occur under current i think we should be focused on how to get people back to work. has is where the house focused. they await consideration at all. back. >> i think the gentleman for his comment.
we have an alternative. he will be talking about it in terms of job and education and buting jobs for our people, the fact is there are 1.3 million people who cannot find a job. to say they will incentivize because we continue to give some , there are three people looking for everyone job available. most of those are skill sets the unemployed have not ad. we are for investing in education. we share the view on that. it's not going to be much solace for them and their families to say,
we dropped you off the rolls. you won't be able to put money on the table -- to put food on the table because the senate has ot acted. i opposed many of the pieces of but we havemyself, a crisis. that crisis is we have 1.3 million. they said not to pass this will undermine the economy and could cost as many as 300,000 jobs from people who will not be of theseand because 1.3 million consumers, we are going to be undermining jobs in america and our economy. talked toryone i have
shares that view. our side make it clear and be vigorously opposed will oppose the adjourning of the house as scheduled on friday the 13th of this month if we have not passed unemployment insurance. we believe that this critical to pass. we also believe passing the sustainable growth rate is something we ought to do by the end of the year. that will expire on december 31. the reimbursement of doctors will be substantially reduced as a result. that is bad policy, not only for those on medicare, but it is bad policy for the medical providers that will serve those people, so i am pleased that he mentions and sustainable growth rate
dr. reimbursement, but we do not have listed the unemployment insurance. we will be very adequate -- very adamant that needs to be done. the majority leader knows that will be our position. do not see the defense authorization bill. i am hopeful the senate will move on that intelligence authorization. the senate has passed comprehensive immigration reform will. we are very disappointed on this side of the aisle that the senate bill has not been put on the floor. our bill or one of the four
bills out of committee. it was supported by the republican party and the judiciary committee. they have not been brought to the floor. we believe immigration reform is a critically important action for the congress to take. we hope anyone of those options would be brought to the table. the senate has passed in a bipartisan way the end of discrimination in employment. we talk about jobs. we talk about economic opportunity. passed that bill. that is not on the agenda either.
i noticed we do have an extension bill that has been specifically reference. we will get to a debate on that next week. we have a suspension bill we have been urging that is reported out of committee that passed by 350 votes. it simply says we ought to have a plan, and that will be to extend manufacturing, grow profits, gross salaries for individuals -- gross salaries -- grow salaries for individuals. and taxnt assistance extenders had been reference.
hopefully we can do all of those. we have a short time to do that. let me ask, does the majority leader have a high degree of confidence that he will be to end the first session on the scheduled date of december 13? i yield to my friend. .> i think the gentleman the staff has passed 150 bills very much focused on job focused on trying to ensure we address the concerns
of those that are most vulnerable, while equipping those without the tools necessary to get up on the ladder of success. unfortunately, the senate has refused to take on most of those bills. 189 -- has sent 180 nine bills to the senate, and that is excluding what we did this week. of those 41 have been signed into law by the president. 148 bills have stalled in the the senate has passed only43 bills, and of those 14 have been signed into law by so mr. speaker, we have done our work. we have got a lot more work to do.
one of the things i did not hear the democratic whip mention is the issue of health care. very muche has been on the minds of america right now, and they witnessed the utter disaster of a rollout of obama care. hishe gentle man knows, constituents as well as mine are faced with higher premiums. he has said to the american people they can keep their health care laws if they would like -- health care plans if they would like to. they have to figure out what kinds of plants are actually there for them. the administration claims the website is working just fine. we know the backend of that website is not working just fine. i am glad people are able to get
on and see what is there. we don't really know how successful the sign-ups and enrollments are being. areo know most individuals facing higher premiums. those that have had to give up the plan are facing higher premiums and plants they don't necessarily choose, that they are forced to have because of the operation of this law. we need to focus on this issue. we voted on the alternative back in 2009. there was a planned the congressional budget office said ford reduce premium patients out there. we have not resolved this issue of health care. there is a better way. we ought to spend time focusing
on how we are going to resolve that for the millions of americans who are very unhappy for health options care under obama care. >> i am not surprised the majority leader wants to talk about health care. much of that legislation he is all the times the republican party has tried to repeal health care. clear thisake it will is a very positive though for the american people. the bill to which the gentle man refers covered less than 3 million people of the 30 million to 40 million people who have no insurance.
tens of millions of people i predict by the middle of next going to be having coverage and health care insurance because we passed this bill. he is right. the rollout is terrible. in president is disappointed that. it is being worked on. he doesn't recall the rollout of the subscription drug hill. -- bill. medicaret recall that had a tough rollout for a couple years. i am not saying they don't believe it. there are people who say we ought to not have medicare.
the fact of the matter is the health-care bill is going to work, but it is interesting that when you ask a specific question , it passed in a bipartisan fashion overwhelmingly. health carethe good bill. that is the politics of the issue right now. >> will the gentle man yield? >> i would be glad to yield. not politics. it's what people are concerned about. right now more people in america are concerned about the choice they have for health care and how they will seek coverage for their family. it's not about politics. some things that do transcend washington partisan
politics. we care about health care. republicans care about health care. democrats care about health care. right now there is a serious problem given the obama care law. we need to help people. that's what i am talking about, not talking about the politics of it. i am talking about what is on the minds of millions of americans as they lose the coverage they can afford. people int to help this country when it comes to >> theealth care. governor of kentucky spoke to us this morning. kentucky is not the center of democratic politics in america, as mitch mcconnell observed.
thousands of people are signing up in kentucky successfully. thousands of people are coming forward. thousands of people coming in new york and california all over this country who say they want the assurance. we haven't had much replaced. we have had a lot of repeal. three congresses ago he is talking about it. all we have had is repeal. there ought to be an alternative the other side offers. frankly, they have not done it.
glad to move to another subject. i would tell him the majority of the american people in poll after poll say they don't want it repealed. they want assurance it is going to work, but they don't want it repealed. even though we are upset about the rollout, about a website not working as effectively as we the majority say they don't want it repealed. they want tofixed. have it work. frankly, i think that's where they are. not everybody. i understand that. certainly not some factions of the republican majority party.
they have made that very clear in statements on this floor. my view is we ought not to simply distract from some of the important things that need to be .one i was interested in senator's response about the iranian deal. it was a worthwhile effort to make. we need to make sure it works. when he said this was just a ruse, just an effort to distract from health care, i think that sort of indicates the extraordinary focus this issue the republican party on over the last three or four years.
can i ask the majority leader conference,dget whether he has any idea about the budget conference coming forward? does he have any idea about whether a budget agreement has been reached? if an agreement is reached, will itself as a budget report. i am informed there will never .e a budget conference report does the gentleman know whether that is the case or not and whether or not some agreement may be manifested by a bill and not i a conference report? i yield to the gentle man. say to the gentle man the discussions i have had with chairman ryan would lead me to some optimism that the two guys -- two sides can come to an
agreement. n agreement has not been made. i am optimistic that this time differences the that have been on display at all year long -- that we can perhaps agree we need to reduce the deficit. we need to do something about wasteful spending, and once again, i don't think the gentle man nor i the the sequester is nor i thinkhod -- the sequester is the best method. it cuts bad programs the same way as good programs, and there are better ways. said we havealways theto do something about mandatory programs that is disproportionately causing our deficit. i am hopeful next week we can show the people of this country that we can produce something
smarter than the way we are going about it now. a big concern to me is the national security and defense of this country, as i know it is for the gentle man, so i am hopeful that will be the case. the form that agreement may or may not take is undetermined. i think it would be premature to even guess at that. i would say to the gentle man, i know that he joins me in hoping there is an agreement that we can maintain the trajectory in reducing spending, to it in a smarter way so we can get about the business of prioritizing the expenditure of taxpayer dollars here in this house. i yield back. >> i think the gentleman for his comments. agree the sequester is not good policy.
a matter of fact, the chairman of the appropriations committee said it best when he said the suppressors are ill- conceived and unrealistic, and that he believed the house that is thedicated, case. we haven't done appropriations bills with the sequester laws that were agreed at williamsburg to be offered. my own view that was being discussed at the budget conference, some of the things i unbalanced,s being unfair, irresponsible, and , and unless we have a balanced agreement, which in my view, should replace the a leader, because of indicates, it's not -- as the leader indicates, is not the right did -- rational way to go.
not the way to go and ought to be replaced. i am hoping any agreement will sequester.lace the i am hopeful that we would get a little deal, not nibbling around the edges so what occurs as we do this every six and we never get to a stability that the majority leader believes and i believe would give confidence to our economy, to the business community and to our people if we got a beginning. deal, but unfortunately that does not seem to be, at least at this point in time, in the discussion. i'm hopeful that the